HONG KONG: US chip maker Intel apologised in China on Thursday after its letter telling suppliers not to source products or labour from the Xinjiang region triggered a backlash, making it the latest western firm to be tripped up over rights issues in the country.
Intel recently published what it described as an annual letter to suppliers, dated December, that it had been “required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region”, following restrictions imposed by “multiple governments”.
Intel’s letter, on the company’s website and in several languages, sparked criticism in China from state and social media, with calls for a boycott.
In a Chinese-language statement on Thursday on its official WeChat and Weibo accounts, Intel said that its commitment to avoid supply chains from Xinjiang was an expression of compliance with U.S. law, rather than a statement of its position on the issue.
“We apologise for the trouble caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners and the public. Intel is committed to becoming a trusted technology partner and accelerating joint development with China,” Intel said. Intel did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.